Fred’s Head from APH, a Blindness Blog

Fred’s Head, offered by the American Printing House for the Blind, contains tips, techniques, tutorials, in-depth articles, and resources for and by blind or visually impaired people. Our blog is named after the legendary Fred Gissoni, renowned for answering a seemingly infinite variety of questions on every aspect of blindness.

(See the end of this page for subscribing via email, RSS, browsing articles by subject, blog archive, APH resources, writing for Fred's Head, and disclaimers.)


Wednesday, February 17, 2016

A Method for Cutting Food

As a result of my own experiences and those of other blind people I have talked to about this topic, I realized a long time ago that many blind people are quite anxious about going to a restaurant with sighted people, especially if the blind people order food that must be cut. Some blind people have remarked that they avoid the situation entirely; others go to the restaurant but make a special effort to order a sandwich or some other meal that does not include food that needs to be cut.

My father taught me this method for cutting food. It works particularly well on boneless meats, baked potatoes and certain desserts like individual pieces of cake—not so well with bone-in meats, loaves of bread or large desserts like entire pies or cakes. Since it does require you to touch your food, you may choose not to use it when eating particularly messy foods like meat covered in sauce.

Before attempting to cut your food, examine it with one hand enough to know the size of what you are cutting. Once you’ve done this, then you can decide if you want to try to cut the food into small pieces, one or two at a time, or if you want to cut the item in half and proceed from there. Regardless of what decision you make, the method remains the same.

Hold the fork straight up and down in your left hand. The handle faces you. Place the fork in the portion of the food where you want to start cutting. You will determine that based upon the size of the piece you wish to cut. Put the knife in your right hand; hold it sideways with the blade facing down. While keeping your left hand near to but slightly above the place where the fork’s prongs meet the rest of the utensil, insert the point of the knife into the space between two of the fork’s prongs. Where you place the knife also depends upon the size of the piece you are cutting though the process does seem to work better if you place the knife between the prongs closer to the middle of the fork rather than on one of the ends as it keeps both utensils more stable.

Slowly lower the knife, allowing the blade to touch the food. Press down and move the knife back and forth while keeping it in its place between the prongs of the fork. The advantages of this method are many. The food you are cutting is held in place by the fork so you should not end up dropping it on your lap. Since the knife is placed between the fork’s prongs, it can be used safely; you are not touching the blade at all.

As you complete your first cut, you will feel the piece separating from the larger piece of food. Knowing exactly when the cut is complete will take practice. You may find that, at times, the cut is nearly complete but that the piece is barely hanging on to the larger piece of food. In that case, a few more strokes should finish the job.

If you are not particularly comfortable with knives or if you just want to start with something fairly easy to cut, you might try cutting a banana. While cutting a banana is nothing like the challenge of cutting a rib eye steak, cutting that banana will teach you the method, letting you perfect it and giving you confidence to try something tougher like a boneless pork chop or a baked potato.

I am right-handed; if you are left-handed, you may find that you will want to hold the utensils in opposite hands, the fork in the right and the knife in the left. This change notwithstanding, the remainder of the process is the same.

This is not to say that you cannot, when ordering a steak, ask the restaurant employees to cut it before bringing it to you; I have done this at times as have other blind friends. Nevertheless, the goal is to handle this task independently; hopefully this technique will help you. If you use a different technique that works particularly well for you, please share with other readers by leaving a comment.

No comments:

Subscribe to receive posts via email

* indicates required

Browse Articles by Subject

Follow us on Twitter


Write for us

Your input and support in the evolution of Fred's Head are invaluable! Contact us about contributing original writing or for suggestions for updating existing articles. Email us at


The American Printing House for the Blind (APH) makes every attempt to ensure the accuracy and reliability of the data contained in the Fred's Head articles; however, APH makes no warranty, guarantee, or promise, expressed or implied, concerning the content or accuracy of the information provided in Fred's Head. APH does not endorse any technique, product, device, service, organization, or other information presented in Fred's Head, other than products and services directly offered by APH.

The products produced by the American Printing House for the Blind are instructional/teaching materials and are intended to be used by trained professionals, parents, and other adults with children who are blind and visually impaired. These materials are not intended as toys for use by children in unstructured play or in an unsupervised environment.

The information and techniques contained in Fred's Head are provided without legal consideration (free-of-charge) and are not warranted by APH to be safe or effective. All users of this service assume the risk of any injury or damage that may result from the use of the information provided.

Information in Fred's Head is not intended as a substitute for professional advice or treatment. Consult your physician before utilizing information regarding your health that may be presented on this site. Consult other professionals as appropriate for legal, financial, and related advice.

Fred's Head articles may contain links to other websites. APH is not responsible for the content of these sites.

Fred's Head articles created by APH staff are (C) copyright American Printing House for the Blind, Inc. You must request permission from APH to reprint these articles. Email to request permission.

Any submissions to Fred's Head should be free of copyright restrictions and should be the intellectual property of the submitter. By submitting information to Fred's Head, you are granting APH permission to publish this information.

Fair Use Notice: This website may contain copyrighted material whose use has not been specifically authorized by the copyright holder(s). This site is operated on the assumption that using this information constitutes 'fair use' of said copyrighted material as provided for in Section 107 of U.S. Copyright Law.

Opinions appearing in Fred's Head records are solely those of the contributor and do not necessarily reflect the views of the American Printing House for the Blind.